Let me set the scene: I am twenty-four going on twenty-five and left my job as a Fashion Assistant in New York to get my MBA. Professional business settings have never been a part of my career thus far and finance and economics were my worst classes in undergrad. Nevertheless, I knew that getting my MBA was the right choice for me. I was beyond nervous about dedicating two years of my life to something that seemed out of my realm of capabilities, however having gone to UW for undergrad I felt confident coming to the Wisconsin School of Business for my MBA. Moreover, something deep down inside me made me feel certain I would find my place in the brand and product management specialization.
I am now eight months into my first year as a “brandie” at the Wisconsin School of Business and couldn’t be happier with my decision. As the year started and I began to learn more about brand management and marketing, I was immediately reassured that I had made the right choice in specializing in brand and product management. I am now certain that I am following the path that will allow me to work with others often, grow and take advantage of my analytical thinking skills, and continue to use my creative side.
Feeling as though I am following the right path in business school is important, but what’s even more important to me is the expansive, encouraging community of people I am now a member of because I am a part of the brand specialization.
Firstly, the faculty and staff within the marketing department are extremely supportive. Not only do they encourage you to follow the path within brand management that is right for you, but they also give you the tools to do so. They are constantly reminding those of us in the marketing specialization that we are capable of being successful brand managers, and help us when the imposter syndrome kicks in. Second, the second years have welcomed us first years with open arms. They are willing to help whomever, whenever and have never made me feel as though I need to fit into the mold of business school. Instead, when giving advice and support, they have encouraged me to work hard and make the business school mold fit to me.
If you’ve read this far into my story, I hope you are wondering about my direct peers. Are they supportive? Have I made lifelong friends? Can I be myself around those who I spend the vast majority of my time with? The answer is a resounding yes. The other first-year “brandies” have been one of the most amazing and unexpected parts of my MBA experience at the Wisconsin School of Business. Getting your MBA is hard. You are thrown back into a school setting after years of the work-world, learning a lot new information, networking constantly, and doing case competitions and running clubs in your “free” time all while trying to find a summer internship. It is stressful and time consuming and the people around you are without a doubt going to witness you “handling” difficult and uncomfortable situations.
However, the sense of community and acceptance fostered amongst you and your peers as Brandies will get you through it all.
We are all different and will all follow different paths when we leave this program. Instead of being disconnect by our different interests, we are fascinated by and care about what each other are doing and support each other in every way we know how. We encourage each other to reach for the stars and follow the paths that are right for us, and I can confidently say that I have never felt more supported by a group of peers. When I graduate in spring of 2023, I know a huge portion of my success will be attributed to the “brandies” who went through it with me.
All in all, the communities created in both the centers and the Wisconsin School of Business are extremely welcoming and I feel honored to be a part of something that supports each and every individual in finding and following their own path.